New Worlds

Sammaneh Pourshafighi is a queer, genderfluid Muslim who arrived in Australia as a refugee after the Iranian Revolution and grew up on the problematic paradise of the Gold Coast. Her ancestral tribes originate from Oureh, Gilan, and Kurdistan. A hereditary witch, poet and multidisciplinary artist, Pourshafighi’s work addresses concepts of contemporary intersectional feminism, transcendence, diaspora, displacement, and comedy as a way to address trauma. She has been shortlisted for the Overland Fair Australia Poetry Prize, collaborated with punk poet Lydia Lunch on an album, and is a contributing writer for SBS Australia.


Old worlds
Need new words
To tend to their wounds.
Like a tourniquet wound
Like stitches unbound
Along the line where the tumour of the future was removed

Old words
Need new blood
To make syllables sing
Like the bell that exists
In a crystal glass kiss;
Vessels of light made from lead.

Blood-red libations from Shiraz
Heavy like a dead weight.
Drink the old wine of past poets
And write new words
For new worlds!

Old worlds
Need new swords.
You tore through nothingness of endless night
Waging a war with only words to replace worn out tools.
You are the brilliant, blinding blade
A billion years in the making.

Boundlessly black.
Beautifully blank.
I would carry you even if you broke my back;
Atlas refreshed by your new words finds new worlds weightless.

Enclosed in the embrace of an envelope
I write on a card in ink
‘All the best for the future’.

Old words
Worn out chords

Do you believe in life after love?
I do
Do you believe in life after love?
I do
Do you believe in…?
I do
I do
After life
I do

I can feel something inside me say…

Play the new tunes
Of outrageous fortunes
And endless futures!
Play new chords with new words
Clean and clear like fresh water
For the cup of my heart is almost dry.
Flush the dust from our eyes so that we may spy new worlds!

Old worlds served old masters
Who beat men to death
Like beasts of burden,
Who flattened out your poems
Like the curls in your hair
To make timelines to nowhere
Rather than the guide to the stars that they truly are.
Eternal maps written upon your scalp.

The futile future is a fallacy.
There are no failures in my faith.
Fruitful and fanciful tomorrows for new worlds.

Eat the fruits of heaven whilst on earth
For here they are most rare.


This piece was originally commissioned by Diversity Arts Australia (DARTS) for the Stories from the Future project.

© Sammaneh Pourshafighi, 2023